Thang Fly Comics tells semi-realistic stories of love and compassion amid COVID

(VOVWORLD) - Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Ho Chi Minh City early May, semi-realistic paintings from the Facebook page Thang Fly Comics started to circulate all over the Internet. Vietnamese netizens were touched by his paintings of humble yet noble acts that spread love and positivity. Each of his posts garnered some tens of thousands of likes and the page is followed by 1.4 million fans. 
The mastermind behind Thang Fly Comics is Ho Chi Minh City-based young painter Bui Dinh Thang. He is passionate about art that combines real-life drawings and detailed styles often found in Japanese anime.

Thang used to get out on the streets to capture the daily activities of city dwellers. But the rise of the coronavirus in Ho Chi Minh City put all the projects Thang was doing on hold. That didn’t mean he quitted drawing city life, though. The pandemic turned out to be a great source of inspiration and fame for Thang from its very first wave when people starved for stories of love and sharing to keep the negativity at bay.

Thang said, “Before the pandemic hit, I drew every small piece of this city, such as a street vendor selling fish noodles or a mechanic on the sidewalk. When the situation worsened, everyone in this city changed to fighting mode. So it seemed reasonable to me to create content about this pandemic.”

Thang Fly Comics tells semi-realistic stories of love and compassion amid COVID  - ảnh 1Painter Bui Dang Thang owns the page Thang Fly Comics. (Photo:

Back in early last July, when Thang started to work on COVID-19 effects, he was inspired by the news on social media. The more his paintings went viral, more people reached out to him via his fanpage to tell their own stories and send their own pictures, which gave Thang more ideas for his artwork.   

Thang often stays up really late to reply to his followers who leave their comments, messages, and sometimes audio recordings on his social account on Facebook and also Instagram. He wakes up in the morning to script out the narration, frame the layout, and draw on his tablet. Thang often posts his drawings at noon. But he doesn’t draw on the tablet all the time.

Thang said, “Sometimes I use acrylic paint on canvas. One of these canvas paintings about monks and nuns doing charity work was auctioned to raise funds for the No.6 Field Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City.” 

Thang Fly Comics tells semi-realistic stories of love and compassion amid COVID  - ảnh 2Thang's canvas painting raises fund for the No.6 Field Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. (Photo: Thang Fly Comics)

Thang cannot count the number of paintings he has made nor choose the most memorable story because, to him, each story is memorable in its own way. Among his most interactive paintings, Thang likes “Happens to the Heart” which has earned over 100,000 likes.

Thang told VOV, “My painting ‘Happens to the Heart’ depicts Catholic followers and Cao Dai practitioners donating food to underprivileged people. Each religious body has its own charitable program. Their acts are sure to tug our heartstrings. Regardless of different faith, they choose to stand together to offer a helping hand. I am greatly impressed by a comment on this post which is a photo of a Catholic nun wearing protective gear and praying to a statue of Jesus before serving as a voluntary caregiver for COVID-19 patients on the frontlines.”     

Thang Fly Comics tells semi-realistic stories of love and compassion amid COVID  - ảnh 3(Photo: Thang Fly Comics)

Thang’s diary of the pandemic has grasped a huge interest from the audience. Designer Nguyen Nguyen feels the losses people around her are suffering. In just a short period of time, the city that never slept was made into a deserted town. Nguyen could hear the ambulance sirens from outside during the day and then quietness after 6pm during the stringent lockdown. Nguyen then decided to read only positive news to lift up her mood. One day she stumbled on Thang Fly Comics where she found exactly what she needed. Nguyen said, “Although I stayed home,  I knew all the doctors and soldiers out there were putting forth all efforts round the clock to save lives. Then why don’t we, who are still healthy in our own houses, refrain from panic and keep our faith in those frontliners? The post on Thang Fly Comics that I love the most is called ‘Shopping’ or ‘Di cho’. Embracing Vietnam’s folk identity, the drawing features the soldiers helping local people with shopping. Just minutes of human-to-human interactions livened up a whole forlorn residential area. I believe the positivity will fuel our morale to surmount the pandemic.”

Thang Fly Comics tells semi-realistic stories of love and compassion amid COVID  - ảnh 4(Photo: Thang Fly Comics)

Loc Dong, a college lecturer in Ho Chi Minh City, is most impressed by Thang’s drawings of the doctors and nurses fighting on the frontlines. Dong said, “It’s not an exaggeration to call them heroes. I am touched by a drawing of young volunteers shivering in the cold and heavy showers of Ho Chi Minh City on a pickup truck carrying them back from hospitals after a long, tired working day. How hard-broken it is to see such scene! I hope my city will soon recover, they can reunite with their loved ones and get some rest for real. I’m so grateful for their devotion.”

Thang Fly Comics tells semi-realistic stories of love and compassion amid COVID  - ảnh 5(Photo: Thang Fly Comics)

To Nguyen, a college student who is stuck in Ho Chi Minh City because of travel restrictions, is touched and, at the same time, motivated by Thang Fly Comics which highlights good deeds every day around us. Nguyen told VOV, “‘A Thousand Words’ is my favorite drawing from Thang Fly Comics. I’m not a frontline worker like the protagonist in this drawing, but just like her, I get phone calls from my parents every single day asking me whether I am safe, I have enough food, or have run short of anything. I love and miss my parents a lot. Also I’m sincerely thankful for those who risk their lives to save others.”

Thang Fly Comics tells semi-realistic stories of love and compassion amid COVID  - ảnh 6(Photo: Thang Fly Comics)

Thang Fly Comics is not always admired by everyone. The painter faces online backlash sometimes, which hurts him, but he considers it inevitable to his online presence. Thang said he will keep doing this as long as his supporters outnumber his haters. Just as we are lulled back to normalcy, Thang plans to join a center offering assistance for the handicapped in organizing an exhibition in Hanoi to raise funds for the needy.

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